MEA rapped on art buys
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its latest report has censured the MEA.india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 04:45 IST
Officials in the ministry of external affairs --- as in most other ministries--- were scrambling to clear all the payments due from their divisions for projects okayed during the year to meet the March 31 deadline. Housekeeping has to be in order to ensure that the budgets are balanced as funds left unutilised lapse, and, if not spent, have to be returned, making that much less available next time.
But they would be well advised to not purchase objets d'art for missions abroad with any surplus funds lying around as the CAG would censure them.
In fact, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its latest report, has censured the MEA for what it called "deficient internal control mechanism" resulting in "irregular/ unauthorised expenditure" amounting to Rs 4.92 crore at Indian missions abroad.
In case you thought foreign service officials were philistine, they have been accused of selecting object d'art (sic) (ODA) like paintings, sculpture, silver pieces and objects of traditional workmanship, worth Rs 1.27 crore between 2002 and 2004 without reference to the sixth ODA committee constituted in June 2001.
According to the 2006 CAG report, "even expensive ODA items in the price range of Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per piece were purchased without getting these recommended / selected by the committee in terms of their quality/value."